AIG East accepts security lapses
June 21, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi in Kenema
Assistant Inspector General of Police East, Alfred Karrow-Kamara, yesterday told our reporter in Kenema that serious security lapses in Kailahun last Sunday were to blame for confrontation between members of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
The fracas, which reportedly led the police to discharge teargas canisters and live bullets at the residents of SLPP candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary bye-election in constituency 001 in Kailahun township, Madam Navo Kaikai, disrupted peace in the township.
AIG Alfred Karrow-Kamara said in an interview on Eastern Community Radio that even though the situation was now under control, there were professional lapses on the side of Local Unit Commander in Kailahun, Francis A. Banya
The police boss in the eastern region said is subordinate failed to put appropriate security measures for both the SLPP and APC candidates, especially when things were getting out of hands, adding that he immediately travelled to Kailahun after he was informed about the fracas between rival political party supporters in Kailahun.
“I agree there were security gaps, our men did not handle the situation appropriately because before now, I told the LUC to assign armed security guides to both the SLPP and APC candidates but he refused to do so. Also the LUC underrated the situation because according to him, both the SLPP and APC assured him that the campaign was going to be peaceful. That was a blunder not from me but the LUC, who failed to listen to all of those basic security arrangements.
“I have already attached 20 OSD personnel to give backup to the Kailahun Police Division to handle future incidents if any. I have already held series of meetings with both the SLPP and APC aspirants and their members for them to maintain the peace and to ensure political tolerance. I have asked them to sign a memorandum of understanding so that there will be no problem,” AIG Karrow-Kamara said, adding that he and his men would be absolutely neutral and very professional throughout the campaign and after the hotly contested bye-election.
SLPP aspirant Madam Navo KaiKai has accused the police of bias in the Sunday incident, claiming that the latter connived with the APC to attack her supporters, firing teargas canisters and live bullets, as an intimidation strategy to scare voters away from polling stations on election day.
She alleged that instead of quelling the situation, LUC Banya ordered his personnel to fire teargas canisters in her resident.
“I no longer have confidence in the police especially those in Kailahun because my security and that of my supporters is not guaranteed in the hands of this LUC and his men,” said the female opposition aspitant, adding that the presence of Cabinet ministers in the constituency, including Local Government Minister Maya KaiKai, Deputy Minister of Labour Augustine Kortu, Minister in the Office of the Vice President, Alieu Bah, among others, could ignite violence in the volatile district.
However, Minister KaiKai narrated that the fracas started when he attempted to place a banner of the APC candidate on their family house at the centre of the township, but his uncles refused on the grounds that the house belongs to the KaiKai family and that it should not be used for any political reason, while he insisted that the banner should be mounted.
He averred that the SLPP was jittery to have seen the number of people that came out from various villages to support the APC, adding that the district was no longer the stronghold of the former.
“Their campaign day was very peaceful; I made sure that none of our APC members came out. This is a democratic country and we have to respect that; I will do everything to maintain the APC in governance,” he said.
He added: “This election is simple as long as we allow democracy to work. This election I am sure is for APC because without the APC in governance I am not a minister, so I have to fight for it. I will campaign my people based on the development that are taking place in the district. We are telling our people to understand. I am the Deputy Regional Chairman for the APC in the eastern region and that is why I am here. Our people were in the dark, but they have now realised based on the developments that are taking place.”